Hello Conservation Volunteers
Well, that was the wettest work morning for a long time so many thanks to those who turned out in the torrential rain and went home absolutely soaked to the skin!
Although the weather curtailed some of the other tasks we had planned for the day such as attending to the railings on the cobble path which are starting to rust at the bottom, the main task of mulching the hawthorn whips which were planted last December went ahead.
We were joined by Ranger Matt's stand in for the day, Tom, plus Rob who works for the Council's Community Forestry. Rob had previously dropped off some wood chip mulching but arrived with another load and also went to collect another during the morning.
Rob firstly told us the reason mulching was necessary was to suppress other plants growing and competing with the whips, as well as helping to retain moisture, particularly during the dry summer months, before giving a quick lesson on how to distribute the mulch. I think most of us thought we would just throw it around the whips, but apparently the correct way is to put about half a trug of mulching around the base of each whip and then create a slight depression around the base of the whip in a doughnut shape!
So, armed with various colourful trugs on a very grey day, spades, and wheelbarrows we made our way down the bridleway duly mulching each individual whip (about 370), with Rob bringing his truck with more mulch to fill the wheelbarrows - although the rain was doing a very good job of its own to fill them up!
The good news is that the whips are starting to green up, so have taken. In a few months (when it's a little drier) we will check to see how many have not survived.
Some left over mulch has been deposited at Forge Dam to be used on the flower beds which a couple of volunteers had been weeding and tidying up, removing the twigs and sticks deposited over the winter.
Over time the tool store had become an untidy mess which last week Peter and Dave spent a morning clearing it out and fitting more hooks. Peter spent the morning in the dry busily installing more hooks (apparently planned before he saw the weather forecast) - a wise choice Peter! Just one more session should see it finished off. It really does look so much better. We just need to keep it that way now!
The next work morning is on Tuesday 23rd May2023. An email will be sent out nearer the time with details.
There is also the additional work morning on Thursday 25th May 2023 where we will be in Bingham Park/Whiteley Woods installing fencing and planting wildflower seeds in a couple of areas which have been badly eroded.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Rob demonstrating how to spread the mulch
Unloading the left over mulch at Forge Dam
Peter at work in the dry! (Why do we have a mirror?)